THE match of the day in the premier division tomorrow pitches leaders Saltburn against second-top Guisborough, who have won the championship in four consecutive seasons.

Guisborough recently defeated their rivals in the Tall Trees Hotel MacMillan Cup, but it could be a vastly different game in the league.

Saltburn have lost just once, to Bishop Auckland, and have recently played some excellent cricket. "It was a wake-up call and the side has responded. We are playing as a team and confident we can give any side a good game," claimed secretary John Bond.

A blow to Saltburn's chances is the absence of Phil Ramage, who scored a century last weekend. Amir Ditta has recovered from an injury to his back and joins his brother, captain Adil, in a strong line-up.

Guisborough are pleased to have Saul Clifford back in their team, but it is the experienced Gary Bolton and not the youthful Chris Allinson who makes way. The 15-year-old retains his place, confirming the selectors have every confidence in him.

Third-top Normanby Hall, whose professional Mohammed Zahid is in top form, make just one alteration to their line-up at Darlington RA, where Talib Ramzan comes in for the unavailable Lee Sykes.

RA cannot call upon captain Phil Crowther and they will be hoping for more of the same from their pro Ashar Zaidi, who just about won the game single-handed last Saturday.

Billingham Synthonia have Dave Fairley and Gary Burgum returning, but Keith Martin is still sidelined for the home game with Northallerton, while Darlington include Colin Biglin and Alex Deuchar for Ricky Hopwood and Philip Buxton for their visit to Bishop Auckland. Phil Timmens is ruled out for Bishops.

Skipper Andy Mollitt is back for bottom-of-the-table Richmondshire, who host Hartlepool. Brothers Andrew and Michael Fleming cannot play and Clifford Jacobs drops out, leaving the way open for the promotion of Michael Layfield and Jamie Stead from the second team.

Middlesbrough go to Redcar, who have Steve Law named for Darren Nalton, with Martin Ball, Chris Veasey and Colin Haslett absentees. The trio are replaced by David Ananakwah, Jonathan Spillane and Raf Rashid.

Saltburn had no difficulty maintaining their position at the top of the table when they had almost 100 runs to spare in defeating Redcar last Saturday.

The scene was set by openers Phil Ramage and Tony Bell (32) and the total of 230-6 achieved from only 48 overs proved more than enough. Ramage hit three sixes and eight boundaries in 103 before being run out.

Redcar then laboured through 44.4 overs before their innings closed on 133. Lee Hodgson returned figures of 4-42 in nine overs, Tim Hood had 3-16 and Singh 3-43 in 19 overs, five of which were maidens. Top performer with the bat for Redcar was Steve De Bolfo, who struck six fours in 35.

Guisborough had 15 runs in hand over Northallerton when they met at Fountains Garth.

Gary Murray (47) and Richard Dunn (30) formed a productive partnership for the second wicket and a total of 172 was achieved, with Jonathan Barnes (5-71) and John Sample (4-60) sharing nine of the wickets.

David Towse struck early when Northallerton replied, but Ian Gill (36) and Ian Place (31) stemmed the tide. When the partnership was broken by Towse, however, the innings ended with 157 on the board. Towse finished with the excellent figures of 7-52.

Darlington defeated Great Ayton by eight wickets with ten balls to spare. Faced with a target of 194, they had Neil Pratt in superb form and he recorded two sixes and 17 boundaries, batting throughout the innings for an unbeaten 132. Ricky Hopwood added 41 to the second-wicket partnership which produced 116 runs.

Batting first, Great Ayton realised 193-7 from their 50 overs. Darren Hickey and John Grainge both made half centuries and David Grainge contributed 36.

Normanby Hall professional Mohammed Zahid produced an exhilarating bowling performance against Marske. He took 6-25 in 17 overs, ten of which were maidens, and Marske were back in the pavilion for only 88 from 33.1 overs.

The Hall had reached 173-8 in 50 overs with useful contributions down the order from David Cross (38), Lee Sykes (29) and Andrew Harrow (29).

Darlington RA professional Zaidi was in splendid form in his side's nine-wicket victory over Middlesbrough at Acklam Park. He finished unbeaten on 101 and David Eckels added 48 to the total of 178-1.

Boro had posted 177-9, which included 34 by Darren Birkett and 43 from James Beaumont, while Zaidi and Andrew Russell both took four wickets.

Brenton McDonald scored a century in Billingham Synthonia's exciting one-run victory over Hartlepool at Park Drive.

He struck 12 boundaries in his first 50 and had 19 fours in all out of 110. Keith Hewson (53no) and Denis Wing (32) were also in form as Synners reached 222-3 in 50 overs.

Gary Tebbitt (61) and Ian Jackson (31) also struck form with the bat for Pools, but their innings ended on 221 as Hewson took five wickets and Martin Cull four.

Richmondshire drew at Bishop Auckland, whose last pair were at the wicket with 14 runs still required for victory. Shanoka Dissanayake and Clive Layfield shared seven wickets after Dissanayake (42) and Mark Layfield (56) provided most of the runs when Richmond totalled 164 all out.